I absolutely love truffles (the super-expensive fungus variety, although I am also rather partial to the chocolates) but had never really considered buying a whole truffle, as I always thought it would be too pricey.
Thanks to the joy of Twitter, I recently came across a website that specialises in truffles: www.mistertruffle.com According to Missus Truffle, English truffles (no, I didn't know they grew here either) were in season and, even better, you could order your truffle by the gram to be delivered to your home.
The English summer truffles come from a wood in deepest, darkest, Dorset. They're vacuum packed and last up to five days in the fridge. The flavour of Summer truffles is much more subtle than winter black or white truffles and you do need to use a little more to get a similar effect.
Admittedly truffles aren't cheap but being able to buy as much, or as little, as you like by the gram makes it much more economical. Also, as the flavour works well with very simple ingredients, you don't need to spend a fortune on other items. And, the cost of the truffle, wine and all the other ingredients was far less than a meal out. Hence, Truffle Fest 2011 began.
Posh cheese on toast
Toasted ciabatta, rubbed with garlic and topped with melted gruyere. Sprinkled with shavings of fresh truffle
Asparagus, poached egg and fresh truffle
Spears of lightly griddled asparagus, topped with a poached egg, flakes of fresh parmesan and a generous grating of fresh truffle
Linguine with parmesan and fresh truffle
Fresh linguine tossed in butter and a drop of cream, topped liberally with shaved parmesan and fresh truffle
Chocolate and home-grown mint mousse
Our deliciously decadent meal was washed down with a chilled Rousanne (thanks to a recommendation from the lovely people at Hello Vino )
I will definitely be buying a Winter truffle from Mister Truffle (or Missus) when they're in season. They offer a fantastic service and I highly recommend reenacting your own Truffle Fest!
**Update** if you love truffles as much as I do, you'll enjoy drooling over Greedy Diva's truffle & wine weekend in Provence. Jealous much?!